Indian Festivals

Meethe Gur me mil gaya Til,
Udi Patang aur khil gaye Dil,
Jeevan me bani rahe Sukh Shanti,
Mubarak ho aapko Makar-Sankranti.

Makar Sankranti is the most awaited festival of our country. It holds much historical importance and celebrated with different names in different places. People celebrate this auspicious festival with great enthusiasm and fervour on 14th January or 15th January. Celebrating Makar Sankranti has both scientific and religious reasons. It is believed and experienced in our science that the Makar Sankranti is the first day when Sun transit into Makar and it is symbol of end of the month of winter solstice. Whereas, rituals says it is the time of thanking our nature and cattle. Devotees take bath in their nearest holy river, donate money, rice, gud (jiggery) and til to needy or Brahims (priest), give sankranti wishes to each other and eat sweet delicacies (made up of til gud). Many people travel Prayagraj to take bath in Sangam, so the seats are unavailable in trains during this festival. So if you’re thinking to start Makar Sankranti 2020 festival on ritual places like Haridwar or Varanasi, make sure to book your train tickets in advance, and check your PNR status time to time to know about berth confirmations. You can also avail the e-catering services and pre-book your veg-foods for your journey.

Makar Sankranti is an important festival which marks the end of dark phases and beginning of new phase in everyone’s life. People celebrate it with the sign of brotherhood and hope for their best, happy and healthy life. Some interesting facts about Makar Sankranti:

  • This is single Hindu festival which follows the solar calendar and falls on the same date every year.
  • Due to cold weather, our skins are generally get dried or flaky and sesame (Til) contains oil based constituents which help to moisturizes our skin and keep it smooth.
  • It is festival to forget and forgive the old bitterness and establish cordial relation.
  • This festival is dedicated to the farmers, because they continuously work hard whole year in their field to produce such huge quantity of corps to full fill our needs. So this festival is a tribute to Indian farmers and celebration of their hard work.

Indian farmers are the biggest community of our country and they found almost in every state and the ways of celebration of this festival varies according to the states. Let’s see the different and famous way of revelry Makar Sankranti in India:

Punjab as Lohri: Lohri is celebrated as the last day of the coldest days of winter. Apart from Punjab, Lohari is also celebrated in Delhi, Haryana and Himanchal Pradesh. Singing and Dancing are the most important part of their life. They wear their brightest dress and come to dance around the bonfire on the beat of Dhol. Sarson Da saag, Makke Di Roti is usually served in the main course of dinner. They also enjoy the ‘Til Rice’. Lohri festival also holds the importance in farmers’ category.

Rajasthan as Sankranti:Famous with the name of “Sakrat”, the people of Rajasthan welcome this festival with their Rajasthani’s special delicacies and sweets like Pheeni, til-patti, gajak, kheer, ghevar, pakodi, puwa and til-ladoo. Kite flying is the most common way to celebrate Sakrat. Friends, new married daughters/sisters are especially invited to visit their parent’s house with their husband for sakrat blessings and meal. They give out dry khichdi or til-gud with them. There is a tradition of sankranti festival in this region; the women give many type of objects like households, makeup or fruits to 13 women.

Gujarat as Uttarayan: Uttarayan is two day festival. On the day of Uttarayan, families prepare and share Undhiyu and Chikkis among them. Kite festival in Ahmedabad is organized at a grand level. Thousands of kites are found swaying in the blue sky with the sound like lappet – lapet, jay – jay, Kaypo chhe, phirki vet phirki etc echoing high in the sky.

Uttar Pradesh as Khichdi:Over two million people gathers at the banks of the sacred rivers of Uttar Pradesh like Prayagraj, Varanasi and Haridwar to take bath in holy rivers. The world famous Maha Kumbh Mela, which is organised in every 12 years at Prayagraj has also a deep connection with Makar Sankranti. Devotees take holy bath during the morning while fasting, wear new clothes and donate rice, til and til laddoo. Kite Festival at this region starts from the starting day of winter but on Khichdi, people put all their energies in flying kites. Bihar and Jharkhand also celebrates khichdi with immense fervour.

Maharashtra as Makar Sankranti:With the word of “Til gud ghya, aani goad – goad bola” they exchange til-gud as the token of goodwill; people meet each other and invite their relatives and friends at their home for Makar Sankranti celebrations. They exchange multi coloured halwa, Gulachi Poli/ Puran Poli, til-gul ladoo or toasted gram flour underlying the thought – forget the past ill-feelings. Women wear black clothes and welcome every lady with the tika of Haldi-kumum.

West Bengal as Posh Parbon:Posh Parbon or Poush Sankranti is celebrated as the harvest festival as the fresh harvest season. On this 3 day festival, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped. People participate in this festival from one day before the Poush Sankranti, i.e. 13 January and continue their festivity to 15 January. Khajur Gur is used in the preparation of Bengali dishes/ sweets. They exchange freshly harvested paddy, patali and Khejurer gur (the date palm syrup) with good wishes.

Assam as Magh Bihu/Bhogali Bihu: The Magh Bihu is celebrated as the symbol of end of harvest season in Maagha. This festival is marked by feast and bonfires. The tradition of celebrating Magh Bihu is to make hut (known as Meji or Bhelaghar) eat the food prepared for the feast and then burn the hut next morning. They also play games like ‘tekeli – bonga’ (pot – breaking) and add buffalo – fighting in the form of their entertainment.

Tamil Nadu as Pongal: The southern part of India, Tamil Nadu celebrates Sankranti Festival with different name and style. It is a four days festival in that region. Each day of celebration holds its own name and importance. The first day of celebration is known as the name of “Bhogi Pandigai”. On this day, people throw or destroy their old clothes or materials into fire which is a symbol to destroying the old and bad thoughts and begin a new life with positive beliefs. In villages of this region, people keep ‘neem leaves’ on the top of the roof which is believed to eliminate evil forces. The second day of Pongal is known as “Thai Pongal”. Thai Pongal is also famous as the name of Pongal, because it is the main day of festival. On this auspicious day, it is a tradition to cook a special rice dish. Rice is boiled in milk and gud (jaggery) and decorated by dry fruits in early morning, and offered to God Sun. They exchange Vadai, Murukku, payasam, gifts and visit each other’s houses. Third day of this festival is known as “Maattu Pongal”. Mattu Pongal in Tamil Nadu holds its own importance as it is devoted to thank giving to cattles for helping farmers in agriculture. People decorate their cattle with flowers, paints or bells and they’re allowed to roam free and fed with sweet rice and sugar canes. Some people decorate the horns of the cattle with a gold covering or any other metallic covers. In villages, “Wild Bull Contests” are organised. Last day of this festival is “Kaanum Pongal”. Since it is the last day of celebration so people dress up new clothes and visit to their relative or friends’ houses exchange gifts.

Except India, some of our neighboring countries also celebrate Makar Sankranti with different names.

  • Bangladesh celebrates this festival with the name of Shakrain. It is an annual festival of winter and people celebrate their Shakrain’s holiday by flying kites.
  • Nepal celebrates it with the name of Maghe Sankranti. This Nepalese festival is celebrated as the first day of Magh month of Vikram Samwat (Hindu Solar of Nepali Calender). They believe that the starting of Magh is an end to all ill-omened mouth of Poush when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. The Nepalese Hindu takes bath in their nearest river and prey to the sun. Some Nepalese worship performs Nara Puja for the community’s protection of evil. They enjoy this festival with basket dance and distribute ladoo, ghee and sweets.
  • Pakistan, also known as Sindh, the Sindhi parents celebrates this festival by sending Ladoos and Chiki to their married daughter.
  • Sri Lanka – On this day, the Sri Lanka Tamil farmers honor the sun God Suryapakaran. The Thai Pongal is celebrated on this day.

Along with all these neighbouring countries, entire world celebrates this day as International Kite Competition. It is generally organised in the major states of India. This year ‘International Kite Festival 2020’ is organised in Ahmedabad from 14th January to 15th January 2020. In many major states this event is organised from 7th January to 14th January.

Makar Sankranti Date and Muhurat 2020:

  • Sankranti Moment-02:22 am (15th Jan.2020)
  • Punya Kaal: 7:19 AM to 12:31 PM
  • Maha Punya Kaal: 7:19 to 9:13 AM
  • Sankranti Snan Time: Morning 15th January 2020

May this Makar Sankranti bless you with good harvest, peace and prosperity! RailRestro wishes everyone a wonderful Makar Sankranti!

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Author: Vijya Lakshmi

Vijyalakshmi is a passionate writer and loves to travel. Currently, she is a part of RailRestro working as a content writer.